Lewis and Clark
Superintendent, Oregon Historical
SEASIDE CHAMBER O COMMERCE
LEWIS AND CLARK FESTIVAL
Printed by the Seaside Publishing Co.
of empire, Captains Meriwether Lewis anA
FORERUNNERS hold a unique place in American history and
an even more unique place in the history of the Pacific North-
west. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was the first official Uni-
ted States exploring expedition; perhaps the most important.
The party were the first American citizens to cross the con-
tinent, the first to travel down the Snake and lower Columbia
rivers, the first to construct a building in Oregon, the first to
visit Seasidealthough in the less pleasant seasonwhere a
patrol made salt while the main party kept to winter quarters
at Fort Clatsop. They were the first Americans to dwell in the
only part of the American domain that was never the possession
of another power. Spain, Russia and Great Britain contested
for its ownership, but the Oregon Country came direct to the
United States from the Indian inhabitants. The expedition of
Lewis and Clark contributed to that end, and helped to add to
the United States an area about half as large as that of the
original thirteen states, the first American land on Pacific shores.
Many books, large and small, by historians and novelists,
have been published on the Expedition, includinga century af-
ter their tripthe original journals of Captains Lewis and Clark.
In those books the Expedition is viewed in the course of our na-
tional history, which then still centered on the Atlantic seaboard.
In them the events at Seaside and Fort Clatsop receive but brief
treatment, although here was their goal, and, although their jour-
ney was only half completed, here they were at their farthest
This booklet is not about the Expedition. It is about Lewis
and Clark at Seaside and Fort Clatsop, and it views the Expedi-
tion in a setting of four hundred years of international explor-
ation and struggle for New World empires.
4 Lewis and Clark at Seaside
cc joy in camp we are in view of the Ocian
this great Pacific Octean which we been so long anxious
to See. and the roreing or noise made by the waves braking on
the rockey Shores (as I suppose) may be heard distictly. . ." So
wrote Captain Clark in his journal (and in his unhampered spell-
ing) on November 7, 1805, eighteen months after their start and
when, geographers tell us, the group were still fifteen miles from
the sea on their voyage down the Columbia.
For several days they were stopped on the Washington side
of the river by "high swells," by seas that "roled and tossed,"
by weather all "wet and disagreeable." Captain Lewis explored
about Cape Disappointment; the others hunted game and tried
to make themselves comfortable, and in turn visited the ocean
beaches north of the river's mouth.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition were the first white men
to reach the mouth of the Columbia River overland from east of
the Continental Divide. But they were not the first to note its
presence or to sail its broad and salty estuary. More than two
hundred years before them, Francis Drake, then a pirate and not
yet a Sir, although not reaching the river, had named the coast
New Albion; thus, since Albion is the old name for England, there
was a New England on the Pacific Coast before there was one
on Atlantic shores. Thirty years before the Americans, Bruno
Heceta, a Spanish sea-captain, noted the river, naming the north
cape San Roque and the south cape Cabo Prondose. It was John
Meares, the first British navigator to attempt to enter the river,
who gave Cape Disappointment its name'he concluded in 1788
that the mighty river of the west did not exist and, in addition
to naming the cape to express his feelings, added another name
by calling the river's mouth Deception Bay.
Nor were Spain and Great Britain the only powers whose
sea-captains, exploring for national benefit or fur-trading for
personal profit, were on the coast. Russians, led by the Dane,
Vitus Bering, who reached the North American continent in
1741, were slowly moving down the coast from their Russian
American posts in modern Alaska. And a British fur-trader, Alex.-
ander Mackenzie, had made his way across the continent, in
what is now Canada, a decade before Lewis and Clark started
on their journey; and he, also, was seeking the river of the west.
That the Americans were on what was, even then, an
American river, was, it may be admitted, largely luck.
Lewis and Clark at Seaside 5
Robert Gray was the captain of an American fur-trading ves-
sel. He had been off the Northwest Coast in 1788 and 1Th9 and,
by sailing back to Boston around Africa, was the first o carry
the American flag around the world. In 1792 he was again off
the coast, in Yankee manner pushing his ship into bays and
rivers that might offer good trading. It was the chance of com-
merce that led him into the Columbia on May 11, 1792, to make
the river's official discovery. That act gave the United States a
claim to the Columbia's drainage basin, to the Pacific North-
west. Gray, however, paid but an eight day visit to the region,
a ship-visit, a tourist's visit, where Lewis and Clark walked on
the land and explored and stayed a while.
NOVEMBER 24 LEWiS and Clark were ready to "examine
BYThe other side [of the Columbia] if good hunter to winter
there, as salt is an objt . . " Two days later they crossed to the
south side, the Oregon side, of the river, there to make their
Several considerations prompted their move. Sacajawea, the
Indian woman who had accompanied them and was thus prob-
ably the first woman to make the trans-continental trip, was "in
favor of a place where there is plenty of Potas" or the edible
root of the wapato, which was baked like a potato. The Chi-
nook Indians on the north bank had set their prices "so high
that it would take ten times as much to purchase their roots &
Dried fish as we have in our possession, encluding our Small re-
mains of Merchandize and Cloths &. This certainly enduces every
individual of the party to make diligient enquiries of the natives
[for] the part of the countrey in which Wild animals are most
plenty . . . " Convenience for salt-making, the wishes of the one
woman of the party, the greater abundance of game, the ap-
parent mildness of the climate, easy approach to any vessel that
put into the Columbia "from which we might purchase a fresh
Supply of Indian trinkets to purchase provisions on our return
home . . . . induces us to . . . .Cross the river to examine the
opposite Side . .
On November 26 Lewis and Clark crossed the river and
6 LewIs and Clark at Seaside
began to explore for a site for their winter camp. They noted
that the seashore was "covered with butifull pebble of various
For some days the men were unwell on their diet of dried
fish, and suffered 'from rain and hail with intervals of fair
weather . . ." But Captain Clark "observed rose bushes dif-
ferent Species of pine, a Species of ash, alder, a Species of Crab
Loral. and. . . . lofty pine many of which are 10 & 12 feet through
and mare than 200 feet high ......while Captain Lewis noted
the characteristics of our Squirrels, blackberries, cranberries, crab
apple and madrona.
And where are the trees of which this was written? "A calm
Cloudy morning, a moderate rain the great part of the night,
Capt. Lewis Branded a tree with his name Date & I marked my
name the Day & year on a alder tree, the party all Cut the first
letters of their names on different trees in the bottom
Do any of them still stand?
In the same entry Captain Clark again complains of the
high prices asked by the natives for their produce, and mentions
that one Indian refused all offers and "demanded 'ti-a-co-mo-
shack' which is Chief beads and the most common blue beads,
but fiew of which we have at this time."
Tyee-kamosuk, as the words are generally spelled, is Chinook
Jargon, a trade language developed among the natives of the
coast and rivers, who spoke many different tribal tongues. The
Jargon was used from present Alaska to California by the In-
dians long before the white men came. The early settlers here
could all talk it and did, not only to communicate with the na-
tives, but among themselves. A few old-timers can still wawa.
or speak, it. Some words were until recently generally understood
and often used: a tillikum is a friend, kumtux is to understand,
a tyee is a chief or important man, cultus is bad.
The designations for citizens of white nations reveals who
most of those visitors were. A King Chautsh manKing George:
the Indians had difficulty pronouncing the letter "r"was a
Briton, who began to come in numbers during the reign of George
III. That Americans were Boston men would indicate that most
of our seamen were from that port. All other white men were
The Chinook Jargon is the only such native American trade
language that has been preserved. Books have been written in
Lewis and Clark at Seaside 7
it and parts of the Scripture have been translated into it.
On December 5 Captain Lewis, who had been several days
seeking a winter site, returned to the temporary camp with news
"he thinks that a Sufficient number of Elk may be prcured con-
venient to a Situation on a Small river which falls into a Small
bay a Short distance below ........
Two days later the party "Set out to the place Capt. Lewis
had viewed and thought well Situated for winter quarters . . .
The bay Captain Clark called "Meriwethers Bay the Christian
name of Capt. Lewis who no doubt was the 1st white man who
ever surveyed this Bay . . . [It] is about 4 miles across deep
and receves 2 rivers the Kil-how-a-nah-kje and the Ne tul and
Several Small Creeks
Those names do not remain. Like many another geographic
feature of this most "purely' American territory, two of them
have British names supplied by a British officer; in this case by
Lt, W. R. Broughton of Capt. George Vancouver's staff, who
in 1792 named the bay Young's Bay after Sir George Young of
the royal navy, and "Kilhowanahkle River" after the same ad-
miral. The Netul, on which Fort Clatsop was located, has be-
come Lewis and Clark River.
The plan of Fort Clatsop, as the winter camp was named
after the natives of the vicinity, was sketched by Captain Clark,
as is shown opposite.
The exact site of the camp was determined by the Oregon
Historical Society at the turn of this century, and the grounds
are now a public park in the possession of the Society.
Six years after the expedition other Americans and repre-
sentatives of an American company were in this same locality.
only six miles away establishing a post whose name has come
down to this day. The agents of the Pacific Fur Company, of
which John Jacob Astor was the promotor and financier, sailed
into the Columbia in 1811 and on a site now in the heart of As-
toria erected their post of that name. Those men were fur-trad-
ers. They were concerned only with making a profit from their
trade. They, apparently, did not know of the camp of Lewis and
Clark, selecting their own almost haphazardly.
Astor's plans were world-wide in scope and might, had they
succeeded, have brought to the United States all the Pacific
Coast north of Mexico. The War of 1812 put an end to his
business and to his plans, and might have been a serious set-back
Lewis and Clark at Seaside
Lewis and Clark at SeasIde 9
to American claims in this region. The United States was unable
to defend Astoria, the tiny trading post, which was seized by the
British as a prize of war. However, the Treaty of Ghent provided
that places taken by either power should be returned to the orig-
inal owner, so in 1818 Astoria was legally returned to the United
States when there were no Americans living here to reside in
or to operate the post.
Thus, another American claim was added to those of Robert
Gray, discoverer of the river, and of Captains Lewis and Clark,
explorers of the interior, for the possession of at least part of the
Yet it would be nearly thirty years after Lewis and Clark
left Seaside and Fort Clatsop, and more than twenty years after
Astoria passed into British possession, before any other Ameri-
cans would come to the Pacific Northwest intending to stay.
Forty years would pass before the Columbia River country be-
came United States territory. Although the region was open to
settlement by either the British or Americans during most of the
period, its effectual occupation was by the British fur-trading
companies, the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay
The beaver brought the white men hereone of the objects
of the Lewis and Clark Expedition was to determine if the fur-
trade could be carried on in the Oregon Country by overland
routes. The beaver brought about the discovery of South Pass
in Wyoming, the gateway of the Oregon Trailone of the As-
tor party found the pass when making his way back to "the
States" after the post had gone to the British. The importance
of the beaver in our history is indicated by its use in the State
Flag, and by Oregon's popular designation as the Beaver State.
CLARK wrote under heading of "Sunday 8th Decem-
ber 1805 Fort Clatsop," "that having fixed on this Situation
as the best Calculated for our Winter quarters I determined to go
as direct a Course at I could to the Sea Coast which we could
Captain Clark's plan of Fort Clatsop, superimposed on a drawing of a
river. The men lived in the log houses that formed two sides of the
enclosure. There was a gate at each end of the parade ground.
10 Lewis and Clark at Seaside
here roar and appeared to be no great distance from us, my princ-
ipal object to look out a place to make salt ......
Before making that move they had noted that "Mt. St.
Hilians [Helens] Can be Seen from the Mouth of this [the
Columbia] river . . .," that there were large numbers of "Swan
Brant Ducks & Gulls in this great bend which is crowded with
low islands covered with weeds grass &c and overflowed every
flood tide. . ." Earlier Captain Clark had remarked that a large
portion of the Indians had been destroyed by "Small pox or
some other [disease] which these people were not acquainted
with." A few days later he described the native burial customs:
"The Chinooks Cath lah mah & others in this neighborhood
bury their dead in their canoes. for this purpose 4 pieces of Split
timber are Set erect on end, and sunk a few feet in the ground,
each brace having their flat Sides opposite to each other and
sufficiently far asunder to admit the width of the Canoe in which
the dead are to be deposited . . ., in which the body is laid after
being Carefully roled in a robe of Some dressed Skins . . . from
their depositing Various articles with their dead [they] believe
in a State of future ixistance."
With five men Captain Clark started for the coast, taking
a southwesterly direction, following a dividing ridge through
lofty pines and over much fallen timber. They waded up to their
knees in fording creeks and swamps. One stream was sixty yards
wide; to cross it they constructed a raft. The major event, on
which the day ended, was the "discovery" of a large "gange of
Elk in the open lands, and we prosued them through verry bad
Slashes [swamps] and small ponds about 3 miles, killed one and
camped on a spot Scercely large enough to lie Clear of the Water.
We made a camp [tent] of the Elk skin to keep off the rain
which continued to fall, the Small Knob on which we camped did
not afford a Sufficiency of dry wood for our fire, we collected
what dry wood we could and what Sticks we could Cut down
with the Tomahawks, which made us a tolerable fire."
Throughout the night it rained and all were wet when
morning came. Sending two men to continue the elk hunt, Captain
Clark and the others made for the coast. They had gone but a
short distance when they met three Indians "loaded with fresh
Salmon which they had Giged in the creek." By signs the natives
indicated that their village was near by on the coast, and invited
the white men to it. The group proceeded, using a small canoe
Lewis and Clark at Seaside 11
hidden in a creek, and which the Indians carried from stream to
Soon they reached the village, which consisted of four lodges.
The lodges were a combination basement and walled construction,
the walls and roof of split planks being built over a basement
dug about four feet into the ground. A ladder led down into the
house. Fires were burning in the center of the room. Beds were
bunks around the walls, two and one-half feet above the floor
and covered with mats. Under the bunks baskets, mats and
utensils were stored.
The natives treated the white men with "extrodeanary
friendship, one man attached himself to me as Soon as I entered
the hut, Spread down new mats for me to Set on, gave me fish
berries rutes & on Small fleet platters of rushes to eate
all the Men of the other houses came and Smoked with me. Those
people appeared much Neeter in their diat than Indians are
Comonly, and frequently wash their faces and hands . . ."
Captain Clark thought the food pleasant. However, in his opinion
of the "fleetness" of his hosts he was somewhat in error, as his
closing entry of December 9 reveals: ". . . when I was Disposed
to go to Sleep the man who had been most attentive named
Cus-ka. lah produced 2 new mats and Spred them near the fire,
and derected his wife to go to his bead which was the Signal for
all to retire which they did emediately. I had not been long on
my mats before I was attacked most Violently by the flees and
they kept up a close Siege dureing the night......
The next morning Captain Clark rose very early and ex-
plored the seashore, picking up several curious shells and amusing
himself for about an hour. On his return "one of the Indians
pointed to a flock of Brant Sitting in the creek at Short distance
below and requested me to Shute one, I walked down with my
small rifle and killed two at about 40 yds distance . ." The
natives were much impressed, and could not understand, as they
said, that kind of musket.
It is one of the most interesting, and often puzzling things
about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, even to historians, to
note how modern the equipment was. Many items in their in-
ventory did not come into general use for another fifty years.
Captain Clark's rifle was one such, as were the air-rifle strong
enough to kill game, and friction matches.
After attempting, with limited success, to make some pur-
12 Lewis and Clark at Seaside
chases of his hosts, Captain Clark started on the return trip to
Fort Clatsop. He was accompanied part way, and ferried across
the streams, by Cuskalah. Reaching the winter camp he found
Captain Lewis and all the men busy cutting down trçs for the
NEXT several days were spent in building Fort Clatsop.
THE Devember 14 the logs for the cabins had been cut and
raised. Men were put to splitting cedar logs for roofing, the
explorers being "glad to find the timber splits butifully, and of
any width." On the twenty-fourth the whole party were moving
into their "huts."
Then came the first celebration of Christmas day by Amer-
icans in Oregon, a day Captain Clark described: " . . . at day
light this morning were we[rel awoke by the discharge of fire
arm[s] of all our party Ej a Selute, Shouts and a Song which
the whole party joined in under our windows [those of Captains
Lewis and Clark], after which they retired to their rooms were
cheerful all the morning, after brackfast we divided our Tobacco
which amounted to 12 carrots one half of which we gave to the
men of the party who used tobacco, and to those who doe not
use it we made a present of a handkerchief . . . all the party
Sungly fixed in their huts...
"We would have Spent this day the nativity of Chirst in
feasting, had we any thing either to raise our Sperits or even
gratify our appetites, our Diner Concisted of pore Elk, so
much Spoiled that we eate it thru' mear necessity. Some Spoiled
pounded fish and a fiew roots." Another member of the party
noted that they were without salt to season even the tainted
meat. The accident of the spoiled meat is explained as "owing
to warmth & the repeeted rains, which cause the meet to tante
before we can get it from the woods . ,
Now, however, they had a meat house, and hunting parties
were continuously in the woods. The meat was smoked, and
Photograph of the page in Captain Clark's journal in which he tells
of the Expedition's Christmas "celebration."
Lewis and Clark at Seaside 13
#.. $ ,I/LW 7.2/f
14 Lewis and Clark at Seaside
diet was somewhat improved. The ailing men improved under
the better living conditions. Indians were frequent visitors, bring-
ing foodstuffs and peltries, for which the Americans traded
without satisfying successthe natives were sharp bargainers
and asked double or treble the value of everything they 'have
to sell, and never take less than the full value of any thing . . ."
Coboway, one of the most famous Clatsop chiefs, some of
whose descendants are living today, visited the fort. To him
the Americans gave one of the medals they brought with them
to honor friendly natives and to be patent evidence of their pres-
ence here. A dozen or so of these medals have been preserved,
and infrequently another turns up. Probably next to the gold
"Beaver" coins they are the most sought after tokens of Oregon
history. No doubt some will yet be found.
a HIS MORNING [December 281 Derected .
Bratton. Gibson to proceed to the Ocean at some convenient
place form a Camp and Commence makeing Salt with 5 of the
largest Kitties, and Willard and Wiser to assist them in carrying
the Kitties to the Sea Coast. all the other men to be employed
about putting up pickets S inakeing the gates of the fort - .
The explorers' journals are full of the daily affairs of the
fort. The fleas were a constant torment. The weather was so
damp that, although there are occasional references to fair or
almost rainless days. a frequent entry runs "rained as usual." (It
would be interesting to know if the winter of 1805-6 was more
wet than usual.) Much attention was given to food, for they were
dependent upon what the area and the Indians could supply.
Hunting expeditions were always out to try to provide meat for
the return trip. Roots, berries, fish and game were purchased
whenever possible from the natives. It wasn't often, however,
that it could be recorded they "had a sumptuous supper of Elk
Tongues 5 marrow bones which was truly gratifying." A whale
was cast ashore and Captain Lewis was anxious to go to the
coast to get some of its oil, but the high winds kept him in camp.
One of the most interesting discussions of food is Captain
Lewis' comment " . . . our party from necessaty having been
Lewis and Clark at SeasIde 15
obliged to subsist some length of time on dogs have now become
extreemly fond of their flesh; it is worthy of remark that while
we lived principally on the flesh of this anamal we were much
more healthy stronç and more fleshey than we had been since
we left the Buffaloe country. for my own part I have become
so perfectly reconciled to the dog that I think it an agreeable
food and would prefer it vastly to lean Venison or Elk. . " Cap-
tain Clark's journal on this subject reads the same as Captain
Lewis', except for the last sentence; this is Captain Clark's
opinion: " . . . as for my own part I have not become reconsiled
to the taste of this animal as yet . . ."
Many of the men were sick or suffered accidents; yet it is
one of the notable things about the expedition that only one man
died during the entire trip, and he of natural causes and shortly
after the journey was begun.
The natives were often and carefully described in their
appearance, dress, customs and ways of life. It was observed
of the Chinooks that the tribes above the Columbia River "carry
on a verry considerable interchange of property with those in
this neighbourhood." It was this trade that brought about the
growth of the Jargon, most of its words being in the Chinook
tongue. Captain Clark states that all native travel was by water.
and that there were no roads or paths except portages from one
stream to another. Even in the coldest weather, he writes, the
natives wore only a piece of fur about their bodies and a short
robe, "except a few hats, and beeds about their necks arms and
legs." They were small and not handsome, generally speaking,
and the women especially. The Chinook women were lewd, but
the Clatsop and others appeared diffident and reserved. Captain
Clark lists and described seven tribes in the neighborhood.
Captain Lewis writes that "The Clatsops, Chinooks, Kill-
amucks &c. are very loquacious and inquisitive; they possess
good memories and have repeated to us the names capasities of
the vessels &c of many traders and others who have visited the
mouth of this river; they are generally low in stature, proportion-
ably small, reather lighter complected and much more illy formed
than the Indians of the Missouri and those of our frontier; they
the generally cheerful but never gay. with us their conversation
generally turns upon the subjects of trade, smoking, eating or
they do not hold the virtue of their women in high
16 LewIs and Clark at Seaside
estimation . . . [and make them] perform every species of domestic
drudgery. but in almost every species of this drudgery the men
also participate, their women are also compelled to geather roots,
and assist them in taking fish, which articles form much the
greatest part of their subsistance; notwithstanding the servile
manner in which they treat their women they pay much more
rispect to their judgment and opinions . . . than most Indian
nations . . . sometimes [the women] appear to command in a
tone of authority.
On New Year's Day the captains were awakened by a
discharge of guns under their windows, the "only mark of
rispect," Captain Lewis wrote, "which we had it in our power to
pay this celebrated day. our repast this day tho' better than that
o Christmas, consisted principally in the anticipation of the 1St
day of January, 1807, when in the bosom of our friends . . . we
shall . . . enjoy the repast which the hand of civilization has pre-
pared for us. at present we are content with eating our boiled
Elk and wappetoe, and solacing our thirst with our only beverage
pure water . .
Their fortifications being then completed the two captains
issued an order on the more exact and uniform discipline of the
As to the management of the fort, Captain Lewis wrote in
the Orderly Book:
"The fort being now completed, the Commanding officers
think proper to direct: that the guard shall as usual consist of
one Sergeant and three privates, and that the same be regularly
relieved each morning at sunrise. The post of the new guard
shall be in the room of the Sergeants rispectively commanding the
same. the centinel shall be posted, both day and night, on the
parade in front of the commanding offercers quarters; tho'
should he at any time think proper to remove himself to any
other part of the fort. in order the better to inform himself of the
desighns or approach of any party of savages, he is not only at
liberty, but is hereby required to do so. It shall be the duty of
the centinel also to announce the arrival of all parties of Indians
to the Sergeant of the Guard, who shall immediately report the
same to the Commanding officers.
"The Commanding officers require and charge the Garrison
to treat the natives in a friendly manner; nor will they be per-
mitted at any time, to abuse, assault or strike them; unless such
LewI and Clark at SeasIde 17
abuse, assault or stroke be first given by the natives, nevertheless
it shall be right for any individual, in a peacable manner, to
refuse admittance to, or put out of his room, any native who may
become troublesome to him; and should such native refuse to go
when requested, or attempt to enter their rooms after being for-
bidden to do so; it shall be the duty of the Sergeant of the guard
on information of the same, to put such native out of the fort and
see that he is not again admitted during that day unless specially
permitted; and the Sergeant of the guard may for this purpose
imploy such coercive measures (not extending to the taking of
life) as shall at his discretion be deemed necessary to effect the
"When any native shall be detected in theft, the Sergt. of the
guard shall immediately inform the Commanding officers of the
same, to the end that such measures may be pursued with rispect
to the culprit as they shall think most expedient.
"At sunset on each day, the Sergt. attended by the inter-
preter Charbono and two of his guard, will collect and put out
of the fort, all Indians except such as may specially be permitted
to remain by the Commanding offercers, nor shall they be
again admitted untill the main gate be opened the ensuing morn-
"At Sunset, or immediately after the Indians have been dis-
missed, both gates shall be shut, and secured, and the main gate
locked and continue so untill sunrise the next morning: the water-
gate may be used freely by the Garrison for the purpose of
passing and repassing at all times, tho' from sunset, until! sunrise,
it shall be the duty of the centinel, to open the gate for, and to
shut it after all persons passing and repassing, suffering the
same never to remain unfixed long[er] than is absolutely nec-
"It shall be the duty of the Sergt. of the guard to keep the
kee of the Meat house, and to cause the guard to keep regular
fires therein when the same may be necessary; and also once at
least in 24 hours to visit the canoes and see that they are safely
secured; and shall further on each morning after he is relieved,
make his report verbally to the Commandg officers.
"Each of the old guard will every morning after being
relieved furnish two loads of wood for the commanding offercers
"No man is to be particularly exempt from the duty of
18 Lewis and Clark at Seaside
bringing meat from the woods, nor none except the Cooks and
Interpreters from that of mounting guard.
"Each mess being furnished with an ax they are directed
to deposit it in the room of the commanding officers [with] all
other public tools of which they are possessed; not shall the same
at any time hereafter be taken from the said deposit without the
knoledge and permission of the commanding officers; and any
individual so borrowing the tools are strictly required to bring
the same back the moment he has ceased to use them, and [in]
no case shall they be permitted to keep them out all night.
"Any individual selling or disposing of any tool or iron or
steel instrument, arms, accoutrements or ammunicion, shall be
deemed quilty of a breach of this order, and shall be tryed and
punished according. the tools loaned to John Shields are exempted
from the restrictions of this order.
Meriwether Lewis, Capt. 1st U. S. Regt.
Wm. Clark capt &c
cc ENT SERGT. Gass and George shannon to the Saltmakers
who are somewhere on the coast to the S.W. of us, to
enquire after Willard and Wiser who have not yet returned
Captain Lewis wrote on January 3, 1806.
Two days later Willard and Wiser returned, reporting,
according to Captain Lewis' journal, that "they had not been
lost as we apprehended. they informed us that it was not untill
the fifth day after leaving the Fort that they could find a con-
venient place for making salt; that they had at length established
themselves on the coast about 15 Miles S. W. from this, near
the lodge of some Killamuck [Tillamook] families . .
The site of the salt-makers' cairn was located on June 9,
1900, by a committee of the Oregon Historical Society who had
the testimony, among ohter evidence, of a native whohad known
contemporaries of the explorers. Like Fort Clatsop, the site is now
in the possession of the Society and is a public park.
The two men, Captain Lewis continues, reported that
the Indians [near the cairn] were very friendly and had
given them a considerable quantity of the blubber of a whale
Lewis and Clark at SeasIde 19
which perished on the coast some distance S. E. of them; part
of this blubber they brought with them, it was white & not unlike
the fat of Poork, tho' the texture was more spongey and some-
what coarser. I had a part of it cooked and found it very pallitable
and tender, it resembled the beaver or the dog in flavor. . . These
lads also informed us that J Fields, Bratton and Gibson (the Salt
Makers) had with their assistance erected a comfortable camp.
killed an Elk and several deer and secured a good stock of meat;
the commenced the making of salt and found that they could
obtain from 3 quarts to a gallon a day; they brought with them
a specimine of the salt of about a gallon, we found it excellent,
fine, strong & white . . ."
The salt was "a great treat" to all the party except Captain
Clark, who cared but little if he had any with his meat or not.
Both captains agreed, however, that if they could get fat meat
they were not very particular about their diet. They had learned
to think that "if the chord be sufficiently strong which binds
the soul and boddy together, it does not much matter about the
materials which compose it .
The three salt makers were Joseph Fields, 'William Bratton
and George Gibson, all privates, who had been with the expedi-
tion from its beginning, and who returned safely to the States.
Patrick Gass was one of the three sergeants and George
Shannon was the youngest member of the party. Shannon was
once lost from the group while east of the Cascade Range and
was succored by an Indian woman. Except for an incident on
the return trip, and an earlier one at Seaside. the Expedition's
experience with the natives was most friendly.
It is surprising how little is known about the members of
the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Captain Clark's history is
fairly well known; he became Indian Agent and governor of
Missouri Territory, dying in St. Louis in 1838. Captain Lewis'
death occured in 1809, from a cause never satisfactorily deter-
mined. The best article on the personnel of the expedition is one
by Charles G. Clarke in the Oregon Historical Quarterly for
December, 1944. It is from that article that the following infor-
mation is taken.
Fields was from Kentucky. He was an excellent woodsman
and all-around handy man, one of the most valuable members
of the expedition. in fact, he was so much depended upon that
he was excepted from the order to turn in his tools at the end
20 Lewis and Clark at Seaside
of the day, as was noted in the order for Fort Clatsop. In addition
to his salt making, he explored part of the Yellowstone River.
Bratton was born in Virginia. of Irish parentage, in 1778.
After the Expedition returned he moved to Kentucky and later
to Waynetown. Indiana, where he died in 1841.
Fields and Bratton were listed as "young men from Ken-
tucky," and were not, as was Gibson, accounted a "soldier."
Gibson was born in Pennsylvania and died in St. Louis in 1809.
In addition to being a good hunter, he played the violin and acted
Gass' journal was published before those of Lewis and
Clark. He was head carpenter as well as sergeant, and lived to
be ninety-eight years old, dying in 1870.
Shannon, only eighteen when the expedition started, returned
to Missouri. He became a lawyer, was senator from Missouri,
and died at the early age of forty-nine in 1836.
CLARK set out with, apparently, a group of thirteen
CAPTAIN canoes after breakfast on January 6 to go to the coast
and find the whale, hoping to purchase some of its blubber from
the natives. Included in the group were Charboneau and Saca-
jawea, his wife. The reason Sacajawea was taken is stated by
Captain Clark: "The last evening Shabono and his Indian woman
was very impatient to be permitted to go with me, and was there-
fore indulged: She observed that She had traveled a long way
to See the great waters, and that now that monstrous fish was
also to be Seen, She thought it very hard that She could not be
permitted to See either (She had not yet been to the Ocian) . .
The group followed Captain Clark's first route to the sea
and with similar experiencesexcept that the night was clear
and the "moon shiney." They found he hidden canoe. They
roused some elk and shot one, of which they ate, "incrediable"
as it may seem, all but eight pounds. The next morning they
Captain Clark's map of "Seaside," showing the native village at the
approximate site of the salt cairn and the trail from the fort to the
Lewle and Clark at SeasIde 21
22 LewIs and Clark at Seaside
followed Skipanon Creek to the coast. They crossed a stream
Captain Clark named Clatsop River after the natives living on it.
That name, also, has been changed. the stream today being known
as the Necanicum. Going on about two miles they came to the
salt-makers. Those men had a neat camp close to fresh as well
as salt water, and they had enjoyed kind and attentive care from
Captain Clark and his group then made a trip to Tillamook
Head, described in words that merit quoting from the original
left Sergt. gass and one man of my party Werner
to make salt [William Warner thus joined the little group of
Seaside's earliest business men] & permited Bratten to accompany
me, we proceeded on the round Slipery Stones under a high hill
which projected into the ocian about 4 miles further than the
direction of the Coast. after walking for 23/i miles on the Stones,
my guide made a Sudin halt, pointed to the top of the mountain
and uttered the word Pe shack which means bad, and made signs
that we could not proceed any further on the rocks, but must
pass over that mountain, I hesitated a moment & view this emence
mountain the top of which was obscured in the clouds, and the
assent appeard. to be almost perpindecular; as the small Indian
path allong which they had brought ernence loads but a few
hours before, led up this mountain and appeared to assend in
a Sideling direction, I thought more than probable that the assent
might be torerably easy and therefore proceeded on. I soon found
that the [path] became much worst as I assended, and at one
place we were obliged to Support and draw ourselves up by
the bushes 8 roots for near 100 feet, and after about 2 hours
labor and fatigue we reached the top of this high mountain,
from the top of which I looked down with estonishment to behold
the hight which we had assended. which appeared to be 10 or
12 hundred feet up a mountain which appeared to be almost
perpindicular, here we met 14 Indians men and women loaded
with the oil and blubber of the whale. In the face of this tre-
mendeous precipic immediately below us. there is a Stra[ta]
of white earth (which my guide informed me) the neigh-
'borrng Indians use to paint themselves, and whidi appears to
me to resemble the earth of which the French Porcelain is made;
I am confident that this earth contains argile [alumina], but
whether it also contains silex or magnesia, or either of those
LewIs and Clark at SeasIde 23
earths in a proper perpotion I am unable to deturmine. we left
the top of the precipice and proceeded on a bad road and en-
camped on a small run passing to the left: all much fatiagued"
Captain Clark's party were the first white men to stand on
Tillamook Head, the mountain that the Tillamook Indians called
Nah-se-u'-su; and Sacajawea was in all likelihood the first native
woman, except those of the local tribes, to climb its steep sides.
The explorer's estimate of its height was remarkably accurate:
the highest point being 1136 feet above sea level. The spot from
which the party stopped to gaze over the sea and the coastline
is now appropriately known as Clark's Point of View.
The area has since challenged the imagination of every
visitor, and has been the setting of several novels, among them:
Thomas Rogers' Beeswax and Gold, Sheba Hargreaves' Ward
of the Redskins and Claire 'Warner Churchill's Slave Wives of
the Nehalem. Another description is by Archie Binns in his
chapter of the recently published The Pacific Coast Ranges. It
has become a romantic and literary as well as a historic spot.
And what changes have been made today! Now an excellent
highway enables the traveler in a few minutes from Seaside to
come to the view that Captain Clark's party struggled hours to
reach. On Tillamook Rock, a barren pinnacle to those first
Americans to see it, now stands one of the Pacific Coast's most
modern lighthouses, built seventy-five years later. It is on so
isolated an "island" that its keepers must often be landed in a
breeches buoy. Many of John Fleming Wilson's sea stories in-
volve Tillamook Lightliterature again using this area for its
setting and subject.
The next morning proved to be clear, and from the next
elevation Captain Clark "beheld the grandest and most pleasing
prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in my frount a boundless
Ocean; to the N. and N. E. the coast as . . . far as my sight
could be extended, the Seas rageing with emence wave[s] and
breaking with great force from the rocks . . . on the other side
I have a view of the coast for an emence distance to the S. E.
by S. the nitches and points of high land which forms this
corse for a long ways aded to the inoumerable rocks of emence
Sise out at a great distance from the shore and against which
the Seas brake with qreat force gives this coast a most romantic
appearance . . .
The modern visitor is as much lost for words as was Cap-
24 LewIs and Clark at Seaside
tam Clark to express the grandeur and dramatic quality of the
Oregon coast about Seaside.
Continuing the search for the whale, he noted the native
manner of burying the dead in canoes resting on the ground,
and commented upon the very heavy forests of the areaforests
that originally were among the finest and most dense of the
North American continent. When, the same day, the party
reached their goal, they found that the Indians had taken every
"valuable part" of the whale, leaving only its skeleton on the.
sand, Probably it was the great gray whale of the Pacific, still
sometimes seen; Captain Clark wrote that its skeleton measured
105 feet in length.
In trying to purchase some of the oil or blubber he found
that, although the natives "possessed large quantities of this
blubber and oil [they] were so prenurious that they disposed
of it with great reluctance and in small quantities only .
He could purchase only a few gallons of the oil, which the
Indians rendered by placing hot stones on the blubber in wooden
troughs, and about 300 pounds of the blubber. However, he
thanked "providence for directing the whale to us; and think
him much more kind to us than he was to jonah, having Sent
this Monster to he Swallowed by us in Sted of Swallowing us
as jonah's did . . .
The men of the Expedition were as hungry for fat as for salt.
The following day the party underwent an experience that
changed their easy attitude toward the natives and made them
"shudder at the dreadful road" they had to follow on their
return. Private Hugh McNeal, who liked a good time and was
inclined to be a hail fellow well met, had separated from the
group to enter a lodge with a "verry friendly" native. There
a squaw tried to hold him while the very friendly native at-
tempted to murder him for his blanket. The killing was pre-
vented by the local natives and the would-be murderer. a man
of another tribe, "ran off as soon as he was discovered."
Late that evening the group again reached the salt works.
They dined on part of an elk and a deer that J. Fields had
killed during their absence, and stayed the night to rest from
Leaving the salt makers early the next morning, January
10, the whale hunters made their way back to Fort Clatsop.
arriving at ten o'clock in the evening.
Lewis and Clark at Seaside 25
MANY days there are few references in the Journals that
FOR with the salt makers at Seaside. Until March 23, when
the party left Fort Clatsop, most of their attention was given to
affairs there, and to making notes that are a major source of
our knowledge of the natives and their lifeand the life of
explorersnearly a century and a-half ago.
The securing of food both for daily use and for the trip
home was a constant concern. Almost every day's entry contains
references to the hunt, stating who were sent out and what their
luck, or lack of luck, had been. Often the game was killed so
far from the fort that much of the meat was lost to the wild
animals of the area, or to the Indians who frequently helped
themselves before men could be sent from the fort to bring in
the game. One amusing note on this native activity reads, in
Captain Lewis' record of February 12: "This morning we were
visited by a Clatsop man who brought with him three dogs as
a remuneration for the Elk which himself and nation had stolen
from us some little time since, however the dogs took the alarm
and ran off; we suffered him to remain in the fort all night .
Captain Lewis may have regretted that loss of meat, but Captain
Clark was probably contented that the dogs did escape becoming
a dinner for the men of the Expedition.
They did not fare too well, for a dinner that was living
"in high style" consisted of "a marrowbone a piece and a brisket
of Elk that had the appearance of some fat on it." However,
they seldom went hungry and by February 12 had dried enough
meat to last out the month. They also took heart in the infor-
ination supplied by the Indians that in March they would have
a great abundance of small fish "Which from their description
must be the herring."
That seems to be the first published reference to the Colum-
bia River smelt, a fish much sought by the nativesand by
Oregonians todaybecause of its delicious flavor. Captains Lewis
and Clark thought them superior to any fish they had ever tasted,
and found them best when "cooked in Indian stile, which is by
roasting a number of them on a wooden spit without any previous
preparation whatever." The smelt, also known as the eulachon,
is so rich in fat that it was often used as a candle by the natives.
Some of the early explorers actually called it the candle fish.
Men of the expedition were dispatched up the Columbia to catch
26 LewIs and Clark at Seaside
smelt for the table, adding a welcome variety to the diet of fresh
and dried flesh.
In March the wapato root was also more plentiful, and the
party lived 'sumptuously on our wappetoe and Sturgeon
and Anchovy [smelt] ." Sometimes a snow goose or brant was
killed, both of which were judged better tasting than fowl of
the same species east of the Rocky Mountains. Other foods
mentioned, either as in use among the natives or tried by the
explorers, included thistles, ferns, rushes and berries"cran-
berries for the sick," a beneficial remedy. By the middle of March
Captain Lewis reported that they were living "in clover." Also,
they had salt from Seaside to flavor their dishes.
Nevertheless, the Expedition left Fort Clatsop without suffi-
cient food for the return journey, "depending on Drewer and
the hunters" to keep them supplied on the long route from the
mouth of the Columbia River to St. Louis at the junction of the
Missouri and the Mississippi.
Another item briefly and infrequently mentioned was clothing.
Although the party were outfitted for the entire trip, some gar-
ments had to be replaced and parts of costumes were secured
to show the native dress in the there-to-fore unexplored land.
Captain Lewis states that he "Had a large coat completed out
of the skins of the Tiger Cat and those also of a small animal
about the size of a squirrel not known to me; these skins I pro-
cured from the Indians who had previously dressed them and
formed them into a robe; it took seven of those robes to complete
the coat . . . " A striking coat it must have been.
For some days at least the men of the garrison were busily
engaged in dressing elk skins for clothing. Their major hindrance
was the lack of brains or soap to use in curing the hi4e. They
could not get sufficient ashes to make lye, for "extrawdinary"
as it may seem, green and dry wood was consumed without
leaving "the residim of a particle of ashes." Native hats made
of cedar bark were purchased from the natives.
Skins were apportioned among the men to make into cover-
ings for the baggage when they set out on the return journey.
The health of the members of the Expedition was also a
constant worry to the two captains. Sickness and accidents are
often mentioned, and the treatment appliedusually the best
known "a century and a-half ago. Alexander Willard cut his
knee 'very badly with his tommahawk"; but the cut healed under
Lewis and Clark at Seaside 27
a treatment not stated. William Bratton complained "of a pain
in the lower part of the back when he moves which I suppose
proceeds from dability. I gave him barks. [George] Gibsons
fever still continues obstenate tho' not very high; I gave him a
doze of Dr. Rush's . . "When George Drouillard, often written
Drewyer in the Journals was taken ill Captain Clark "blead him."
At one time or another most of the members of the party
were ill, and although all recovered, their inferior diet, as Captain
Lewis observed, made their recovery slower than it might have
and March the leaders
T HROUGHOUT January, Februarythe flora and fauna ofcol-
lected and minutely described the
area. Frequently their descriptions are accompanied by drawings
of remarkable accuracy.
The trees are enumerated, very much as we know them,
including a "pine tree, or fir, which at the hight of a man's
breast was 42 feet in girth: about three feet higher. o as high
as a tall man could reach, it was 40 feet in the girth which was
about the circumpherence for at least 200 feet without a limb
it was very lofty from the commencement of the limbs
[Its total heighth] may be safely estimated at 300 feet." That
tree was probably a Douglas fir, named for the British botanist,
David Douglas, who was in Oregon twenty-five years after
Lewis and Clark were here.
A majority of Pacific Northwest birds are described, in-
duding the Oregon robin, "a beautiful little bird"; a coast buz-
zard that measured more than nine feet from wing tip to wing
tip, which Captain Lewis believed "to be the largest bird of
North America"; owls and woodpeckers, jays and dovesthe
list is surprisingly complete.
"The quadrupeds of this country" Captain Lewis lists: "1st.
the domestic animals, consisting of the horse and the dog only
[the horses being 'excellent' but the dogs even smaller than the
common cur]; 2edly the native wild animals, consisting of "among
others, bear, deer, elk, wolf, tiger cat [our couger], beaver, otter,
mink, seal, raccoon, squirrel, mole panther hare and skunk." Many
28 Lewis and Clark at Seaside
of those animals are carefully described even as to their sub-
family, in their appearance. habits and habitat.
Second only to the attention that the explorers gave to
securing adequate food, was their attention to the natives. The
Journals often supply us with our best first-hand information
about the Indians and their customs.
As might be expected, much attention is paid to the Indians'
manner of supporting themselves. Captain Clark notes that, al-
though some natives had guns traded by the maritime fur-traders
they were "usuially of an inferior quallity" and "invariably in
bad condition." The Indians still relied upon the bow and arrow.
Those are described in detail and judged excellent; they were
used against beast and bird. The native methods of fishing are
counted: the seine, dip-net, gig, and hook and line were used
to catch salmon, cherr, trout, sturgeon, smelt and other fish. The
manner in which the natives dug roots or gathered berries is
also discussed, with pictures of the implements used.
Native cooking utensils in the neighborhood of Seaside were:
"wooden bowls or troughs, Baskets, Shell and wooden Spoons
and wooden Scures [skewers] or Spits, their wooden Bowles
and troughs are of different Sizes, and most generally dug out
of Solid piecies; . . . [they] are extremely well executed . . . in
[them] they boil their flesh or fish by means of hot Stones which
they immerce in the water with the articles to be boiled
Their baskets are . . . So closely interwoven . . . that they are
watertight . . . " Both captains tell how the natives roasted their
meat and fish, and dried fish, roots and berries.
The remarkably good houses of the Clatsops and Chinooks
are describedhouses that were, so far as native techniques
permitted, adjusted to the climate and the Indians' social needs.
They included private and "apartment" dwellings, winter and
summer homesa permanent residence and "a cottage on the
beach," often in or near the present Seaside.
The government of the natives was studied, the explorers
concluding that "the creation of a chief depends upon the upright
deportment of the individual his ability and disposition to
render service to the community; and his authority or the defer-
Reproduction of a page from the official Journals containing drawings
of local natives to show the effect of head flattening. Sketch opposite is
of a baby in flattening "machine."
Lewis and Clark at Seaside 29
30 LewIs and Clark at Seaside
ence paid him is in exact equilibrio with the popularity or volun-
tary esteem he has acquired among the individuals of his band
or nation. Their laws like those of all uncivilized Indians consist
of a set of customs which have grown out of their local situa-
tions, not being able to speak their language we have not been
able to inform ourselves of the existance of any peruliar customs
among them." It was a form of democracy the natives had not
too much unlike our own or, apparently. not much unlike ours
in its working.
In short, little of native life, as little of anything about them,
escaped the two captains' observation. They made the first rec-
ords of many an animal and plant, namingamong many plants
our Oregon grape. They first described many animals, fish
and birds unique to the Pacific Northwest. But in that, as in
geographic features, the names they gave have often been sup-
planted by the names given by later and better publicized visitors
at Fort Clatsop all aimed at preparing for the trip
home. Food had to be secured, clothing made or repaired,
canoes put in shape for the up-river trip and plans perfected.
It is difficult for us to realize the hazards and dangers they
would face. They were to make their way through plains and
over mountains, and always their very lives depended upon their
own ability to cope with the wilds and the uncivilized peoples
of the wilds.
Of trade goods, there were little left, Captain Lewis reveal-
ing [on March 161 that "two handkerchiefs would now contain
all the small articles of merchandize which we possess; the bal-
ance of the stock consists of 6 blue robes one scarlet do. one
uniform artillerist's coat and hat, five robes made of our large
flag, and a few old cloaths trimed with ribbon. on this stock
we have wholly to depend for the purchases of horses and such
Reproduction of a page from the official Journals containing drawing
of a salmon in the descriptive text. Many pages of both Captain Lewis'
and Captain Clark's journals contain such drawings.
Lewis and Clark at Seaside 31
32 LewIs and Clark at SeasIde
portion of our subsistence from the Indians as it will be in our
powers to obtain, a scant dependence indeed, for a tour of the
distance of that before us .
A couple of months earlier the date of departure had been
set for the early part of April, but by the middle of March the
two captains were ready to start on the homeward trek. Troubles
beset them: Drouillard [Drewer, in the Journals] was taken with
a violent pain, and several of the men complained of being
unwella "truly unfortunate" circumstance, as Captain Lewis
complaine± He noted that a dog 'purchased for our sick men,
[some dried fish] to add to our small stock of provision's [and
an otter skin] to cover my papers." The rain hampered work
on the canoes which would be used on the first part of the
return journey up the Columbia River. In fact, adverse weather
delayed the departure from March 18 to March 23. Following
the south bank of the Columbia the Lewis and Clark Expedition
made six miles before nightfall that day. For two more months
they would be in the Pacific Northwest; but they had said good-
by to their winter camp at Fort Clatsop and to their salt works
WE KNOW of the life of the saltmakers, who they were,
WHAT they fared and how they succeeded in their work,
we learn from many scattered references in the official Journals.
No member of the Expedition seems to have written a first hand
story of those first American Seasiders.
Some of those who have already been mentioned as being
at the salt works were recalled and others were stationed there,
so the personnel constantly changed. Several members of the
Expedition visited the salt works at one time or another, to bring
salt back to the fort or to hunt for the saltmakers,
Shannon soon returned from the salt works to the fort,
where he was employed as a hunter.
John Collins, one of the fourteen scidiers of the Expedition.
is next mentioned as being at the salt works. He was from Mary-
land, a good hunter and somewhat of a cook. The scanty records
indicate that he was killed in 1823 in a fight with the Ankara
Lewis and Clark at Seaside 33
Indians while with W.H. Ashley, one of the most famous and
colorful of American fur-traders.
Apparently Alexander Hamilton Willard was for some time
at Seaside. Of him we know considerable. He was born in New
Hampshire in 1771, but enlisted in Kentucky. He was one of
the most useful members of the group, serving as gunsmith,
blacksmith and hunter. Of an adventurous nature, he fought in
the Indian wars of the Middle West and imnigrated to California,
where he died in 1870, almost one hundred years old. He was
one of the men who kept a journal of the expedition.
Of the Expedition's forty-five members [including Saca-
jawea], these seven may be called the salt-makers, the earliest
"residents" of our community: Bratton, Cass, Collins, Fields, Gib-
son, Shannon and Willard.
Other visitors are mentioned in addition to the large party
under Captain Clark, who may fairly be called "tourists," the
first of such to enjoy Seaside.
Thomas P. Howard and William Warner, who were not
very good woodsmen, were sent from the fort to bring back a
supply of salt. They took five days for the trip, much to the
worry of the two captains.
On the last day of January "four men" were sent "to assist
the saltmakers in transporting meat which they had killed to
their camp." Three days later they returned "and brought with
them all the salt which had been made, consisting of about one
busshel only . .
In the middle of February a party under Sgt. John Ordway
was dispatched to the saitworks. [It is interesting to note that
Ordway also kept a journal, but that it was lost for nearly one
hundred years and was not published until 1916.] Three days
later he "returned with the party from the salt camp which we
have now evacuated, they brought with them the salt and eutensils.
our stock of salt is now about 20 Gallons; 12 gallons of which
we scured in 2 small iron bound kegs and laid by for our voyage."
EVERAL facts and reflections here come to mind.
S First is that the salt makers had, considering their equipment
and circumstances, done an excellent job.
While no one has yet been able to determine the exact size
34 Lewis and Clark at Seaside
of the "kitties" used, they could not have been large. They were,
it must be remembered, carried many thousands of miles, and were
only a part of the supplies, trade goods and accouterments of
the Expedition. There is a tradition here in Seaside that one of
the kettles was left behinda possible but unlikely event. How-
ever, if it is true, that kettle would, if it could be found, be a
historic relic of great interest and solve a historical problem.
But, whatever the size of the kettles, it was slow work to
boil away in them the thirteen or fourteen hundred gallons of
sea water that had to be evaporated to yield the amount of salt
secured. As the men were at the salt works only about two
months, they evaporated an average of more than forty gallons
of sea water daily. The work of cutting wood to keep the fires
burning must have taken much time; and it must often have
been a problem during wet spells to build a good hot fire under
Even during their stay not all could devote their time to
salt making. They had to get their own food by hunting and
"keep house" as best they could when they had no house and
few utensils. Probably as much of their time was given to hunt-
ing as to tending the salt works.
For another thing, we ask how they prospered, strangers
in a wild land and among a different people.
'With the natives, except for rare instances, they got along
well, finding them friendly and even helpful. Although the
Americans were inclined to look upon the Indians as inferior
creatures, it is to the credit of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
that its members treated the "savages" as human beings. [What
an absorbing book it would be, if Chief Comcomly had written
what he thought about the whites!]
The men at Seaside, being fewer in numbers with, conse-
quently, fewer to hunt, suffered periods of privation. At one
time it was reported that five days had passed without any game
being killed " . . and they had been obliged to Subsist on Some
whale which they purchased from the natives . . . Some Small
articles of Merchandize to purchase Some provisions from the
indians in the event of their Still being unfortunate in the chase"
were immediately sent to the men at the sea. A short time later
Captain Lewis noted that the "salt makers are still much straitened
for provision, having killed two deer only in the last six days..."
Once at least, when the salt works hunters did succeed in killing
Lewis and Clark at Seaside 35
game, help had to be secured from the fort to get the meat to
Sickness and accidents plagued those at Seaside also. Wil-
lard was injured. Bratton suffered a protracted but not disabling
illness; Gibson was for a time so sick that he had to be taken
to the fort in a litterboth were treated with "the barks" and
On February 19 or 20 the salt works were closed, equip-
ment was packed and the men started for the fort, where they
arrived on the twenty-first. Thus was brought to a conclusion
the enterprise of the farthest camp of the Lewis and Clark Expe-
dition at the site now in the heart of Seaside.
LEWIS AND CLARK Expedition stayed in Oregon only a few
months, but here the group made two of their "permanent"
camps. Despite the shortness of their stay, the influence and
effects of the Expedition continue until today, and will continue.
One of the earliest men to feel its influence was Simon
Fraser who, in 1808, discovered the river that bears his name.
He was searching for the source of the Columbia River, and was
actuated by diplomatic and business reasons. If he could find
the source of the river that Gray had discovered, and follow that
stream to its mouth, he would be the first white man to do so
and would thereby strengthen British claims to its drainage basin.
That would counterbalance the work of the Expedition. Also,
he wanted to advance the British-Canadian fur trade into the
The United States Government was encouraged by the
Expedition's success to send other exploring parties into the un-
settled land west of the Mississippi River. Some of those parties
reached the Pacific Northwest. John C. Fremont on a trip in
1842, that was aimed " . . . to aid . . . emigration to the Lower
Columbia," explored and accurately located South Pass. That
pass was the gateway of the Oregon Trail, and through it poured
thousands of Americans on the road to Oregon. In 1843 Fremont
returned, visited Fort Vancouver and explored much of eastern
Oregon. Lieutenant [later Commodore] Charles Wilkes was in
charge of a Navy exploring expedition that visited the Northwest
36 Lewis and Clark at Seaside
Coast in 1841. Members of that party traveled over much of
Oregon and Washington.
John Floyd, a member of Congress from Virginia, whose
cousin. Charles Floyd. was a sergeant on the Expedition, was
stimulated to argue in Congress and out of public office that the
United States shourd occupy the "Oregon Country." Although
his efforts did not bring immediate results, they were helpful in
arousing interest throughout the nation.
Another person who was stimulated by the Expedition was
Hall J. Kelley. He tried to move the American government and
people to take over this region, and urged that a colony of
Americans be settled here. He, too, failed in his immediate efforts,
but he helped to prepare the public mind for the later acquisition
John Jacob Astor was encouraged to undertake his program
for establishing a post at the mouth of the Columbia. Events at
that post helped to confirm American claims to much of the
Of especial importance was the publication in 1814 of an
edition of the Journal of the Expedition. It was widely distributed
as a government document. Many of the early settlers in Oregon
spoke of having read it, and stated that it was the source of their
abiding interest in this region.
It has been truly maintained that "the Lewis and Clark
Expedition was not merely one of a series of events forming the
basis of our claim to Oregon, but it was the event that carried
the others in its train. From it emerged gradually the conscious
desire to claim [this] territory . .
by the Oregon Historical Society, an international cele-
INSPIRED was held in Portland one hundred years after Lewis
and Clark had been here. That fair brought tens of thousands
of visitors to Oregon, and thousands of new residents.
Under the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce, from
this year on Seaside will hold an annual festival commemorating
the first Americans to cross the continent, many of whom were
the first American visitors of Seaside, whose journey was a potent
force in making the site of this city a part of the American domain.
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